Match Report – Adelaide Thunderbirds vs. Giants Netball (Round 13, Suncorp Super Netball 2019)

The Giants capitalised on a poor start from the Adelaide Thunderbirds to secure a fourteen-goal win and reclaim fourth position by the slimmest of margins in Adelaide on Sunday afternoon.

The Thunderbirds’ horror first quarter was the least of their troubles, with goalers Sasha Glasgow and Emma Ryde both sustaining injuries.

The Giants leapt to an early four-goal lead through a breaking call and centre pass miscommunication from the Thunderbirds.

An intercept by Shamera Sterling enabled the home team to get on the board, and with another goal to Glasgow it seemed the Thunderbirds might have found some rhythm.

But a slew of errors – including a stepping call against Chelsea Pitman and a pass from Maria Folau which bounced off Glasgow’s shoe – gave the Giants an armful of opportunities to extend their advantage.

After Sam Poolman gained the ball to set up a nine-goal lead, Adelaide called a time out. Another intercept to Sterling saw the Thunderbirds peg the margin back to six, but when Hannah Petty tripped over, the ball was lost and the Giants regained their buffer.

Despite the Thunderbirds leading the intercept count 5-0, their wastefulness saw the Giants well in control by ten goals at the first break.

In a further blow to the home team, Glasgow left the court in the final seconds of the opening quarter with a season-ending ACL injury, and was replaced by Emma Ryde.

Eyes on the ball: Chelsea Pitman and Amy Parmenter. Photo: Sue McKay.

The Thunderbirds began the second quarter with another unforced error, a centre-court bounce pass which was easily cut off by the Giants.

After a quiet opening quarter, Caitlin Bassett came into the game and helped the Giants climb to a thirteen-goal lead.

The Thunderbirds responded through an intercept to Shadine van der Merwe. Van der Merwe collected another intercept minutes later, but the Thunderbirds still couldn’t convert their defensive ball, and Kristiana Manu’a intercepted the ball.

Nevertheless, the Thunderbirds were finding a groove thanks to Ryde, who provided a target for the attack end to focus on and she did not miss, which enabled both teams to match each other goal-for-goal.

Two intercepts in the dying minutes by Sterling could not be converted, leaving the thirteen-goal lead standing for the visitors at half time.

The Giants were not playing spectacular netball by any means, but their experience and physicality was giving them an edge over Adelaide, whose inability to bring the ball down from defensive throw-ins and across the attacking transverse line was proving to be their downfall.

Jamie-Lee Price and Chelsea Pitman compete for the ball. Photo: Sue McKay.

Amy Parmenter took an intercept to begin the third quarter, but Sterling won the ball back. A string of intercepts to Maisie Nankivell, Sterling and van der Merwe helped Adelaide to trim the margin to ten, and prompt a time out from the Giants.

Upon returning to court, Parmenter again gained the ball, and despite a rebound by van der Merwe, another intercept to Manu’a helped the Giants to stretch to a fourteen-goal lead.

The Thunderbirds looked like surging when an intercept and rebound by Sterling, and some offensive contact calls against the Giants attackers, gave them scoring opportunities, and they were leading the quarter score with minutes on the clock.

However, Ryde’s knee buckled, and she was helped off court with a suspected knee injury. With no goalers remaining on the bench, Pitman shifted to Goal Attack, making Folau the go-to shooter. Possession was given to the Giants, and they struck back to tie the quarter score, denying either team of the bonus point in the third quarter.

Shamera Sterling, pictured with Maisie Nankivell, broke the Suncorp Super Netball record for intercepts in a single game. Photo: Sue McKay

A deflection by Kelly Altmann was gathered by Sterling, which gave Adelaide an early chance to peg the margin back in the fourth quarter, but when Pitman was forced to shoot, her missed attempt was easily rebounded.

Sterling took her tenth intercept for the match, which saw her break the record for most intercepts in a Suncorp Super Netball game, but Poolman rebounded Folau’s attempt.

Van der Merwe won another ball back, which prompted the Giants to call a time out and refocus to ensure they came away with the final bonus point. They were gifted a chance when Pitman passed the ball straight to Jamie-Lee Price.

A poor feed into the Thunderbirds’ goal circle was gobbled up by Poolman, while a lob pass from Pitman somehow missed both Altmann and Hannah Petty when they led into the same space on the court.

The Thunderbirds called their own time out to settle and try to steal the bonus point, but the Giants prevailed to clinch the final quarter by a single goal and the game by fourteen.

Amy Parmenter covers Maria Folau’s lead. Photo: Sue McKay

The Giants needed to win to keep their noses in front of the Collingwood Magpies for the remaining finals berth, however, they will need to be cleaner with the ball if they are to challenge the top sides.

The drawn third quarter cost them a much-needed bonus point, meaning they are only holding the Magpies at bay by a single point. With a home game against the sixth-placed West Coast Fever, they will go in as favourites but need to be clinical and take all eight points to assure themselves of finishing fourth.

As for the Thunderbirds, who were coming off a run of impressive form, their wasteful treatment of defensive ball was reminiscent of years gone by. They will be disappointed with their first half, but proud of their fight back in the second.

Their final task of the season is as hard as it gets, facing the top placed Sunshine Coast Lightning. With Glasgow’s season cut short, and Ryde suspected to be ruled out as well, their likely replacements are contracted player Cody Lange or training partners Charlee Hodges and Nyah Allen.

Adelaide need to claim one or more bonus points to have a chance of finishing the season in sixth position (depending on the results of the Giants versus Fever match), which would cap off a vastly improved season to record their highest ever Suncorp Super Netball ladder position.

Final Score: Adelaide Thunderbirds 40 def. by Giants Netball 54
(7-17, 11-14, 10-10, 12-13)

Player of the Match: Shamera Sterling (Thunderbirds)

Adelaide Thunderbirds
Maria Folau 18/22 82%
Emma Ryde 18/19 95%
Sasha Glasgow 4/6 67%
Chelsea Pitman 0/1 0%
40/48 83%

Giants Netball
Caitlin Bassett 32/38 84%
Jo Harten 22/28 79%
54/66 82%

Key Stats

Intercepts
Shamera Sterling (Thunderbirds) 10
Maisie Nankivell (Thunderbirds) 3
Shadine van der Merwe (Thunderbirds) 2
Jamie-Lee Price (Giants) 2

Rebounds
Caitlin Bassett (Giants) 4
Sam Poolman (Giants) 3
Shamera Sterling (Thunderbirds) 3

Pickups
Jamie-Lee Price (Giants) 5
Chelsea Pitman (Thunderbirds) 3
Shadine van der Merwe (Thunderbirds) 3
Sam Poolman (Giants) 2
Kristiana Manu’a (Giants) 2
Amy Parmenter (Giants) 2
Kiera Austin (Giants) 2

Goal Assists
Chelsea Pitman (Thunderbirds) 18
Jamie-Lee Price (Giants) 17
Jo Harten (Giants) 13
Kim Green (Giants) 12
Hannah Petty (Thunderbirds) 10

Starting Line Ups

Adelaide Thunderbirds
GS Sasha Glasgow
GA Maria Folau
WA Chelsea Pitman
C Hannah Petty
WD Maisie Nankivell
GD Kate Shimmin
GK Shamera Sterling
Changes: Q2 GS Emma Ryde, GD Shadine van der Merwe
Q3 C Kelly Altmann, WA Hannah Petty, GA Chelsea Pitman, GS Maria Folau

Giants Netball
GS Caitlin Bassett
GA Jo Harten
WA Kim Green
C Jamie-Lee Price
WD Amy Parmenter
GD Kristiana Manu’a
GK Sam Poolman
Changes: Q3 Kiera Austin

What They Said

Julie Fitzgerald – Giants Netball Coach

On the win.
“It was a good win. It was a really, really tough game so I’m very happy to be walking out of here with seven points.”

“I think our consistency is definitely developing. That’s what let us down all year, and since the World Cup break, I think we’ve got a lot better at that, and we’re better at going back to what works for us when we’re under pressure.”

On their road to finals.
“As I keep saying, our fate’s in our hands. If we can come out and get a win next week, we can probably make finals, so that’s what we’ll be trying to do.”

“We know exactly what we have to do, and we know that we have to take each game as it comes. We know that our fate is in our hands, so that’s what we’ll be trying to do.”

Tania Obst – Adelaide Thunderbirds Coach

On the game.
“I thought today was a little messy. Obviously we didn’t have the start that we wanted to. I mean, being ten down at quarter time makes it extremely difficult to then eat into the lead, but I thought we were able to gather our thoughts sort of after half-time and to draw the third quarter, and to then only lose the last quarter by a goal, which was a little disappointing when we were ahead, I actually think that was a really good effort given that we were down to one shooter at the end.”

On capitalising off intercepts.
“I think we had enough of the ball to be – certainly in the second half, which it showed – to be competitive … Shamera’s very happy with her ten intercepts, which is great. She’s got that record now and we need to be more mindful and careful of when we do have the ball and what we do then when we do get the ball back.”

On the Goaler Injuries

“We were left with only the one on the bench which was … I’ve never coached a game where I’m down to one shooter, so we’ll make some assessments, we’ll get some assessments made on those goalers and go from there.”

On preparing to play Sunshine Coast Lightning in their final game for 2019.
“We just follow our normal processes. We’ll do a review tomorrow of the game and (it’s) a little bit different in that we’ll have our court session straight up, but we’ll do our review early in the week and then we just start preparing for Sunshine Coast probably from Tuesday/Wednesday onwards. They’re playing this afternoon, we’ll have a bit of a look at them, what they’re doing, but I thought we played really well against them in Darwin when we played them last, so we’ll have a look at also that, where we can make some improvements, and go from there.”

On the Umpiring
“There were some things that I didn’t think we were ready for – we were waiting for frees at times early, and we’ll have a look at that and as I said we’ll review it and if there’s anything that we need clarification with the umpires, we’ll go through that process.”

On Maisie Nankivell
“Maisie’s been fantastic on the training court and she deserved that start today. I thought she was really exceptional – both in her defensive work that she did, and then her ability to bring the ball through court was great for us, so her work on the training track was rewarded with the start and she made the most of it.”

On Shadine van der Merwe’s shift to Goal Defence
“That is actually her, probably, first position, I suppose, goal defence. She comes from that background, I thought she did some really good work stopping Jo (Harten)’s entry into the circle and we obviously have had an injury with Layla (Guscoth) to go in there, so we need to keep looking at what our options are and she’s doing really well out there.”

On whether SSN needs to look at extending teams from ten to twelve
“Potentially. I think that was one out of the box, to have two goal shooters go down. I suppose you take it out to twelve and then maybe those eleven and twelve don’t necessarily get used too much. Would’ve been handy today, yes, but we’d like to be able to have … fit players out there on the court, so I suppose that’s for the powers to be to make that decision.”